How to Prevent Back Pain as a Trader

BellaMike Bellafiore's (Bella's) Blogs3 Comments

Hello Mike,

What is your advice regarding your back health during work? Doing so many screen time requires a lot of sitting, what is your experience and your partners in preventing back issues to have longterm career? I read your book, watched all webinars I can find ,read blog  ( but only general topics ) and I dont remember you mentioned that,so assume your back is fine despite all this hard work. Maybe you can share sth that will help me.

Background : I sit ca 12hr in front of screen, and have pains now, experiment with standing desk now, its ok, but the legs are in pain…I make breaks, exercise but still
have it.



In The PlayBook I write about how a year ago I tore three discs in my back. The pain was debilitating. Back pain is an existence of constant pain. A busy schedule, including an around the world trip to Singapore and then South Africa, was ahead.

For the first two months I subsisted on prescribed Oxycontin, diet cokes, and a rolled up towel supporting my back while sitting. I did my rehab religiously, working hard to strengthen my core. Rehab is no joke, with periods where you have to push through the pain if you want to get better. I had a great physical therapist in midtown, who was a former college soccer star and pushed me. Also, I lost some weight after fixing some bad habits such as late night eating to relieve stress, and skipping the gym for firm work. Other than still having to sit with something to support my back, my back is rehabilitated and I am pain free.

As a former college athlete it is pretty embarrassing to share that I hurt my back while bending over to tie my shoes. But that is not how I really hurt it. The tear in my disks came as a result of a loss of flexibility, core strength, added weight, and years of all-day sitting. This was all avoidable.


Check out @menshealthmag.  They offer excellent exercises to keep your body aligned and your core strong for those who work in an office. I particularly find David Jack’s videos to be educational and helpful. Here is a great David Jack video for office-chair-potatoes. I cannot believe Men’s Health offers them for free. A strong core is the key to a healthy back.

I love the idea of experimenting with sitting on an exercise ball at work. One of the guys on our desk was promising to try this out.

I love the idea from @ppearlman of StockTwits of utilizing a standing desk while working. This is how all traders should trade in the future, cost permitting.

Also, find some time to get up and walk around. I make an effort to leave the office three times daily to get some more exercise through walking. I walk to get some lunch, to get a power bar mid afternoon, and a Green Tea Teas’ Tea after the close. I own the $NKE Fuel Band to track my activity during the day. I have a daily activity goal which I must achieve.

I hope that helps.

Tomorrow you can be better than today!

Mike Bellafiore

The PlayBook

One Good Trade

3 Comments on “How to Prevent Back Pain as a Trader”

  1. I have an exercise ball in my office, and though I usually use my chair, I switch to sitting on the ball for a half hour or hour at time, very beneficial.

    If you’re sitting for that long every day, an investment in a very high quality chair is worth it.

  2. Your story sounds painful Mike. I have herniated the L4-L5 disc in my back twice. First when I was 21, and then when I was 23. Nowhere near as bad as what you did and I thought my pain was horrendous! My physiotherapist told me that I was a ticking time bomb because I had really poor posture, putting a lot of stress on the spine. As a result of losing a lot of working time and going through a lot of pain I now keep my core strength exericses up and will do for the rest of my life. And I make an effort to sit properly at all times.

    The thing with your back is that you may feel fine now, but all it takes is one episode and your in a world of pain for a long time! For this reason I think it is critical people aren’t ignorant about the topic and make an effort to look after themselves before any damage is done. I sure wish I knew before what I know now.

    And as a side to trading it is beneficial to have your back in shape for all things in life anyway. We all put so much time into learning and reading charts to try and earn a good living. But having good health to enjoy that living is of equal importance for me!

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